Sat. Aug 8th, 2020

No public university to write online exam – Education Minister

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After weeks of agitations and uncertainties surrounding the mode of assessment of students, particularly at the university level, the matter seems to have been put to rest after the Education Minister suggested there will be no exams for public institutions in the country.

Dr Matthew Opoku-Prempeh acknowledged the concerns with access to the internet and the inconvenience some people face in accessing the online learning platforms that have been rolled out.

He explained that deliberations are still ongoing to determine the best mode of assessing academic work and varied options have come up for discussion at the stakeholder meetings that are being organised.

“We won’t wait and be confronted with something we haven’t thought through. We have a standing committee chaired by Professor Yankah, working with the universities in coming up with the alternatives. Somebody brought a paper from one university that said we should get into the online assessment. How would I accept the online assessment when I know some persons cannot come online?

“There is no public school, conducting any exam online. Some universities in rolling out their virtual learning are doing a continuous assessment. The only university that is advanced in that is KNUST that said they will do mid-semester and others. We have to assess that based upon what really happened and if students were left out,” he said.

The Minister explained that together with all stakeholders, the Ministry is also considering possible outcomes at the basic and Senior High School levels.

Among the options laid down on the table for discussions, he suggested, is for the continuous assessment of the candidates preparing for West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination and Basic Education Certificate Examination to be submitted in place of exam as their final results for entry to the Universities and Senior High Schools, respectively.

Persons who feel hard done by this option, he hinted may be given a chance to rewrite when COVID-19 is dealt with and things are back to normal.

No decision, at the moment, has been reached as the reality of the situation is constantly being reviewed to ensure that the decision is backed by science and facts.

“There has to be an acceptable assessment method for which we can all agree that if we use this assessment the universities must admit students based on that assessment method.

“If Ghana is COVID free and the other West African countries are not, can WAEC conduct a Ghana exam for us? it is a possibility which I know we are in talks with WAEC over that.

“If the COVID will prevent us from congregating to conduct a Ghana exam, do we have an assessment in place that we can use as a proxy. And yes Ghana Education Service already submits a continuous assessment of all pupils, over the last 20 years, to  WAEC, which they use statistical method to make it appropriate to serve as 30% of their final exam. Are we able to use that as a proxy? We will come to that decision.

“If we can’t do any, can we then allow the final year students to do National Service before they come to the university?” He quipped.